It’s October and you know what that means: bring out the pumpkins and costumes. Marketing professionals know – and maybe you do, too – that Halloween also means it’s time for the deals and markdowns put in place to make you spend more money.
Adweek recently released an article covering all the different guises businesses use to trick us into
spending. Take note so you don’t get caught in a web of “money-saver” schemes.
1. The Instant Markdown
“Seventy percent off an inflatable spider for my yard? I have to buy it!” That extremely reduced price is sometimes enough to mesmerize you. When the price tag tells you you’re saving fifty dollars, it’s hard to resist such a great deal. Most people don’t realize this is a purposeful marketing tactic. It is called anchoring, or door-in-the-face theory. Marketers suggest a price way higher than it should be, knowing consumers will be more likely to accept a lower price that still brings in a profit later.
2. A False Sense of Urgency
“One day only: all Halloween candy on sale!” We are all going to have to buy it anyway right? We might as well get more for our money. Marketers know consumers want to stretch their dollars. A false sense of urgency draws moms and dads into the stores and once they’re there, they just might
see some full-price spider webs and jack-o-lanterns and snatch those up, too.
3. The Gruen Transfer
Halloween stores often use the Gruen Transfer to draw out more sales. The Gruen Transfer refers to an inefficient or confusing display layout. Winding, cluttered, and narrow pathways make it easy to get distracted and leave the store spending three times as much as you intended when you came in.
4. Odd-Even Pricing
“Only 99 cents!? I’d better buy five.” The dollar section at Target will get any well-intentioned soul. Party favors and giant googly eyes for a dollar or less makes it so easy to not only say “yes I’ll buy,” but to say it five times. As humans, we have a psychological tendency to round down so $1.99 looks more like $1 even though it’s much closer to two bucks. Businesses know this and price their items ending in .99, .97, or .95 for this purpose.
The famous BOGO sale. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought two packs of Halloween-themed Oreos when I probably didn’t need either one simply because the second pack was going to be free. You can usually get one for half-price but when the price tag says buy two, you buy two. Marketers have just tricked you into buying twice as much product as you needed – or didn’t need.
Every holiday season, we see these gimmicks and many others to persuade us to spend more. Use this
knowledge to be ready this Halloween!